In January 2018, Dave Harper, CEO of Geodrill and former WBC feather champion Azumah Nelson flew into Melbourne to attend the unveiling of a statue erected in the honor of Johnny (Fammo) Famechon.
Johnny Famechon is a Legend of Australian Boxing, a status shared in the Australian Boxing Hall of Fame with Les Darcy, Lionel Rose and Jeff Fenech, and now he’s joined Rose and Darcy in having a statue erected in his honour in his hometown of Frankston, in Victoria.
It has taken eight years since it was decided to create a statue in his honour until it was unveiled. Coincidently, exactly the same period of time it took Johnny from his first fight at the Festival Hall in Melbourne until he won his WBC Featherweight Title at the Albert Hall in London when he defeated Cuban Jose Legra.
The unveiling of the statue was planned to coincide with the 49th anniversary of that world title victory.
It was a weekend to remember for Famechon as World, Commonwealth and Australian Champions turned out in force to attend a dinner in his honour the night before the unveiling. Azumah Nelson flew all the way from Ghana to celebrate with Famechon and was joined by Australian World Champions Barry Michael and Sam Soliman.
In all there were 15 professional boxing champions in attendance and four boxers who between them had won five world titles. In all those in attendance had won 56 titles between them, including 10 Commonwealth Titles and 12 Australian titles.
Those attending included: Graeme Brooke, Charkey Ramon, Ken Salisbury, Julian Holland, Frank Ropis, Scott Brouwner, Diamond Dale Westerman, Jayde Mitchell and Kane Watts.
Also attending were three Australian Olympians Lynden Hosking, Robbie Dauer and Brian Tink who fought Azumah Nelson as an amateur.
Making the journey to Frankston to join the celebrations were the late Lionel Rose’s wife Jenny and son Michael. Rose’s statue being the catalyst for the Johnny Famechon Statue Project
More than a thousand people attended the so special unveiling of the statue the following morning in Ballam Park, where each of Famechon’s fights were commemorated beneath the statue and sponsored by supporters of the project.
It is such a fitting tribute to a man, who not only captured the World Title, but defended it twice against the legendary Fighting Harada and stopped the great Japanese Champion in the second bout; the first man to do so. However Famechon’s biggest fight was once he retired. In 1991 he was hit by a car while out running and suffered dreadful injuries including a stroke. Like the true Champion he is and always will be, Johnny tenaciously and courageously fought back, learning to walk and speak again.
The Famechon wit was on display all weekend as he joked about how long the project had taken and confirming that he is an Australian Boxing Legend!